Japan, which Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged will become carbon neutral by 2050, is grappling with a classic "build it and they will come" problem.

After offering subsidies to the tune of ¥100 billion ($911 million) in fiscal 2012 to build charging stations and spur electric vehicle adoption, charging poles mushroomed.

Now, with EV penetration only at around 1%, the country has hundreds of aging charging poles that aren’t being used, while others — they have an average lifespan of about eight years — are being taken out of service altogether.